Huawei says security issues could take five years to resolve

Company logo at the office of Huawei in Beijing. Thomas Peter Reuters  File

Company logo at the office of Huawei in Beijing. Thomas Peter Reuters File

Huawei has earmarked $2 billion to address security concerns raised by the organisation that monitors the use of the company's kit in the UK's network infrastructure but has said the process could take up to five years.

Huawei has since committed to spending $2 billion in a drive to fix those problems, but in a letter to lawmakers last week, Ryan Ding, president of the company's carrier business group, said it would take up to five years to see results.

Any Western country allowing equipment from Huawei Technologies or other Chinese makers to be used in critical infrastructure projects will face the risk of U.S. countermeasures, the USA envoy to the European Union said.

'Modern communications networks are complex systems that keep evolving in new and innovative ways.

The letter follows concerns raised past year by the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) in its annual report.

Huawei, the global networks market leader with annual sales exceeding US$100 billion, faces worldwide scrutiny over its ties with the Chinese government and suspicion that Beijing could use its technology for spying.

"Huawei is a closely watched company", he said.

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He urged European countries to pick Finnish and other Scandinavian companies for their 5G contracts, citing a Chinese law that allegedly compels any private company in the country to cooperate with the government "on any intelligence matters in secret and without refusal". The UK has not yet done so.

The main basis for these fears is a perception that Huawei is linked to the Chinese government and that the use of the company's equipment risks the possibility of backdoors that could be used for espionage.

Depending on the Chinese equipment used by Western countries, the United States. may have to be "more careful in sharing information, in transacting business", and a "host of things", Sondland said. "Were Huawei ever to engage in malicious behaviour, it would not go unnoticed - and it would certainly destroy our business", continues Ding. Germany has said it wants high data security standards for its 5G network.

He said that while some countries - including New Zealand, Australia and the USA - had "indeed taken measures to restrict Huawei business activities", some of the restrictions had been "exaggerated or even misinterpreted by the media".

The Prince's Trust recently announced it would no longer accept donations from the firm, after Mr Williamson and MI6 chief Alex Younger publicly expressed their concerns over the company.

"We would like to reiterate that Huawei has never received any such requests [from the Chinese government] and in the event we did ... we would categorically refuse to comply with it", continued Ding.

USA charges of stealing technology and violating sanctions on Iran have since been issued against the company, sparking new tensions in relations between the United States and China.

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